Alphabetical Index of First Second

Science Comics: Solar System: Our Place in Space

A rare misfire for the Science Comics series, Science Comics: Solar System: Our Place in Space goes past educational to sound patronizing. For a book aimed at ages 9-13, the tone is too “kiddy”, and the lessons are presented too blatantly. As written by Rosemary Mosco and illustrated by Jon Chad (who previously authored Science Comics: Volcanoes), it just doesn’t live up to the high standards set by the other books in the line, which are both informative and entertaining. […]

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Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens

John Patrick Green put a surprising animal into the job market in Hippopotamister, and it was fun. His next book, Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens, uses even cuter animals in even weirder work. The city wants to build a new mayor’s mansion. Marmalade, an orange cat, is an architect and provides the best design, but the (human) city planner rejects it because it was provided by a “cute little kitten”. He says, “I regret that you are just […]

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Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest

Andy Hirsch is responsible for one of my favorite Science Comics titles, the one about dogs. That’s a high bar to meet, and I have to say, I wasn’t quite as involved in Science Comics: Trees: Kings of the Forest — but trees are a very different subject. They’re more inspiring than adorable. Although Hirsch tries to recapture the cute with his narrator, an acorn, this is instead a volume more about knowledge, and there’s plenty covered. A frog, a […]

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Science Comics: Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter

The latest in the outstanding line of Science Comics, non-fiction graphic novels for kids about technology and our natural world, is Joe Flood’s Sharks: Nature’s Perfect Hunter. Unlike other animal books in the line, such as Dogs or Bats, this volume doesn’t have a bridging story or a cute narrator example of the species. That wouldn’t be appropriate for the subject. Instead, this is a straightforward presentation of the various types of sharks, their biology (including their jaws, of course), […]

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Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths

Graham Annable’s distinctive, googly-eyed style is a wonderful match for this odd, adorable fable about two friends, Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths. Ernesto wants to leave their comfortable tree home to “see ALL of the sky!” while Peter enjoys staying put, looking at clouds and enjoying hibiscus. He’s content, as a sloth usually is, but Ernesto likes travel. Peter fears the dangers, but Ernesto vows to return from his adventure. It’s great seeing two such good friends […]

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Star Scouts

Avani doesn’t get along with the other girls in the Flower Scouts troop in her new neighborhood. They only want to talk about boys and makeup, while she’s interested in rodeo, which means they put her down with country wisecracks. Then Avani is abducted by a Zirdonian Star Scout named Mabel who is trying to finish her collection badge by teleporting an alien. The Star Scouts “learn how to fly ships, build robots, survive on the wild worlds…” which makes […]

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Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

There’s been quite the trend lately in collections of short write-ups of women in history you may not have heard of, so I didn’t have high expectations for Pénélope Bagieu’s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World. I should have had more faith — I found myself surprised and enlightened by how many of these women I hadn’t heard of, and the amazing things they did. (First Second has previously translated Bagieu’s fiction graphic novel Exquisite Corpse and her fictionalized […]

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Star Scouts: The League of Lasers

I enjoyed Mike Lawrence’s Star Scouts when it came out last year, so I was thrilled to see that there’s a sequel. Star Scouts: The League of Lasers opens by reminding us of Avani and her interstellar friends. She’s been invited to join the League of Lasers, an elite club for star scouts. While on a try-out mission for membership, Avani gets to put all her scout skills into practice when her smart-aleck spaceship crash lands. Those skills include patience […]

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